DiscussãoThe Drones Club (all things P.G. Wodehouse)

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Mar 23, 2012, 7:14 pm

Is there a finer introduction than this?

“A certain critic -- for such men, I regret to say, do exist -- made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained 'all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.' He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have out-generalled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy.”

Mar 23, 2012, 9:27 pm

Hahaha! Love it!

Mar 24, 2012, 3:32 am

A classic! Wodehouse didn't bother with introductions very often, but when he did they were worth it. The one in The clicking of Cuthbert ("...if stout Cortez was good enough for Keats....") is another little gem. For me, Erich Kästner was the real genius of the comic introduction, but Wodehouse is pretty close behind...

Mar 25, 2012, 6:17 am

I don't know Kastner-I shall have to look him up. Thanks.
I've a copy of The World of Jeeves which has a great, long introduction. It includes a menu for 3 meals during the day with a suggested story to complement each. e.g.
Soft-boiled egg
....Before Retiring
Liver pill

"There is this to be said for the Omnibus Book in general and this one in particular. When you buy it, you have got something. The bulk of this volume makes it almost the ideal paper-weight. The number of its pages assures its possessor of plenty of shaving paper on his vacation. Placed upon the waistline and jerked up and down each morning, it will reduce embonpoint and strengthen the abdominal muscles. And those still at their public school will find that between-say, Ceasar's Commentaries in limp cloth and this Jeeves book there is no comparison as a missile in an inter-study brawl."

Editado: Mar 25, 2012, 10:15 am

Send out one of your K-und-K flunkies for a copy of Emil and the detectives at once! You have to be eight years old to enjoy it at its best, but the combination of humour, sentiment, and inappropriate application of common-sense with a firm refusal to grow up should still appeal to anyone who likes Wodehouse.

Other PGW Introductions of note:
Something Fresh (1968 reissue) "Apparently I was called that {Pelham Grenville} after a godfather, and not a thing to show for it except a small silver mug which I lost in 1897. I little knew how the frightful label was going to pay off thirty-four years later."

Very Good, Jeeves "It is perfectly possible, no doubt, to read Very Good, Jeeves! as a detached effort — or indeed not to read it at all: but I like to think that this country contains men of spirit who will not rest content until they have dug down into the old oak chest and fetched up the sum necessary for the purchase of its two predecessors — The inimitable Jeeves and Carry on, Jeeves! Only so can the best results be obtained."

Summer Lightning (1929) "As my story has appeared in serial form under its present label, it is too late to alter it now. I can only express the modest hope that this story will be considered worthy of inclusion in the list of the Hundred Best Books Called Summer Lightning."

French Leave (1974 reprint) "For some reason my French Leave got by and joined all the other French Leaves. I can only hope it will be found worthy to be included in the list of the Best Hundred Books Entitled French Leave."

(I love the way he makes it clear through all the little changes in the wording that he knows perfectly well he's re-using an old joke.)

Mar 25, 2012, 4:18 pm

Memory! Of course I remember reading-with a lot of pleasure-Emil and the Detectives. I had just "misplaced" the author's name. My wife, in the spirit of Aunt Agatha, uses a more basic description for the lacunae (if that's the word I want).
Thanks for the other intro material-great fun.